• Global biodiversity loss and ecosystem services
  • The science of biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Biodiversity management strategies
  • Open considerations about how companies can make the business case for biodiversity management, working with and through the unknown–a systems approach, complementary action and use in the business context

Staying True to Its “Roots”: How Will Growth Change Local Food Systems?

November 24, 2014

  • Local food: Growing pains
  • Why local food?
  • How are the local food systems doing?
  • How can local food systems meet these challenges?
  • What does it mean to be “local”?

Navigating Troubled Waters: A Primer for Managers on Water Challenges and Opportunities

November 5, 2014

  • Water everywhere? An emerging global water crisis
  • The impacts of a water crisis
  • ‘Water Wars’: Understanding emerging conflicts
  • Industry focus: Sectors facing tensions
  • Moving forward: Opportunities and solutions

Lessons for Detroit from Medellín, Colombia

April 21, 2014

  • Metro–the city’s public transit arteries
  • Metrocable–connections for the city’s poorest neighborhoods
  • Public spaces and public art–inspiring hope in a hopeless place
  • Unidades Deportivas–building community through healthy living
  • Inspired perseverance to overcome persistent obstacles
  • Lessons for Detroit
Lessons for Detroit from Medellín, Colombia
Optimism and Innovation in the World’s Former Murder Capital | Download as a PDF

Erb Institute Report No. 142 / Blue paperSteve Davidson, Erb ’14 takes home lessons for Detroit from Medellin Columbia.

Hydraulic Fracturing in the state of Michigan: Public perceptions technical report

October 23, 2013

pdf-buttonPublic Perceptions Technical Report
is one of seven U-M Integrated Assessment reports on Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan
Download as a PDF

Kim Wolske, Research Management Fellow, Erb Institute and
Andrew Hoffman, Director, Erb Institute
Lukas Strickland, Research Assistant, School of Natural Resources & Environment

One of seven technical reports completed for the Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment, conducted by the University of  Michigan, this report reviews the current state of knowledge on public perceptions of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).  The objective is to highlight issues that may be relevant to HVHF-related policy in Michigan.

MAP – Rapid Growth of Antalya, Turkey and Taxis

May 13, 2013

City of Antalya
Multidisciplinary Action Project

Authors: Aamer Ali, Santiago Gomez-Bernal, Shaun Herbert and Michael Rockett (’15)
Faculty Advisor: Ted O’Leary

Abstract: The government in Turkey had asked major cities to complete sustainable transport plans, Antalya among them.  That plan is about to be made public within the next few months.  The Mayor’s office asked the MAP team to contribute by examining how taxi operations could be better integrated within the overall transport plan.  This involved looking at issues of sustainability in conjunction with concerns to ensure equitable availability of taxis to all zones and demographics within the city.

Read the final report

Designing Innovative Corporate Water Risk Management Strategies from an Ecosystem Services Perspective

May 10, 2013

Designing Innovative Corporate Water Risk Management Strategies from an Ecosystem Services Perspective
Multidisciplinary Action Project

Authors: Daniel Gerding (’14), Berry Kennedy (’14), Makely Lyon (’14), Joshua Rego, and Emily Taylor (’14)
Advisor: Don Scavia, Ph.D.

Abstract: In January of 2012, we teamed up with representatives from the sustainability department at The Dow Chemical Company with the goal of creating a viable, creative solution that would advance The Company’s efforts to address the risk associated with freshwater scarcity. With uncertainty surrounding the impacts of climate change and other environmental threats, it is becoming increasingly important for corporations to fully understand and incorporate the value of the benefits nature provides into strategic decisions. The focal ecosystem service of our project was freshwater provisioning. Freshwater is critical to life and a key ingredient to many economic activities, such as power generation, agriculture and industrial processes. Water scarcity is of particular interest to Dow, given that 20 percent of The Company’s global production comes from the Freeport, Texas facility on the water-stressed Brazos River. Read more

View the full project

Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study

April 22, 2013

Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study (html)

Authors: Brandon M. Marshall (Erb ’13), Jarod C. Kelly, Tae-Kyung Lee, Gregory A. Keoleian,  Zoran Filipi

Publication: Energy Policy
Publisher: Elsevier


  • Travel patterns from survey data are combined with naturalistic drive cycles.
  • More realistic PHEV energy modeling using these synthesized real-world drive cycles.
  • Methodology is demonstrated for PHEVs in Michigan but applicable for other regions.
  • Energy and emissions findings have major implications for PHEV standards and policy.

Read more: Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study (pdf)

University Of Michigan Health System: Waste Stream Assessment & Strategy

April 22, 2013

Client Organization: University of Michigan Health System
Secondary Client Organization: Patient Food & Nutrition Services
Secondary Client Website: Patient Food & Nutrition Services
SNRE Faculty Advisor: Ming Xu
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jenna Agins (Erb ’13), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Annie Cronin (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Catherine Dyson (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kate Newlin, MS Sustainable Systems
Summary of Project Idea: 

About Patient Food and Nutrition Services (PFANS) 
PFANS prepares and provides food and food services to patients throughout the UM health and hospital system including, University Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Cardiovascular Center. It also delivers meals and supplements to elderly outpatients through its Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels program. PFANS staffs about 250 employees and has an operating budget of over $16 million.

About the Project
With the opening and construction of several new facilities, PFANS is currently going through significant transition in the way it operates. These developments provide a significant and timely platform for a student team to assess and make actionable recommendations on how to change PFANS’s waste stream management to incorporate industry-leading sustainability strategies. There is significant impetus from the group to find opportunities for waste reduction that streamlines operational processes and delivers tangible cost-savings. These opportunities will help further the dual goals of reducing PFANS’s waste footprint and continuing to remain a leader in healthcare delivery. Considerations include expansion and improvement of recycling efforts (possibility taking advantage of existing programs within the University of Michigan), incorporation of composting processes in new facilities, product improvement/replacement, vendor selection, operational assessment, social and environmental benefits to stakeholders, employee engagement and cost analysis. The final deliverable would be a comprehensive waste management strategy, business plan and possible action plan for a pilot program. Read more

SNRE Program Areas: 

  • Behavior, Education, and Communication
  • Sustainable Systems

Creating A REDD+ Architecture For Mexico

April 22, 2013

Client Organization: The Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, A.C.
SNRE Faculty Advisor:  Bill Currie
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Hannah Erickson, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Nancy Gephart (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Allie Goldstein, MS Environmental Justice/Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Sam Stevenson (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Environmental Informatics
Summary of Project Idea: 

The report described below (from Executive Summary Conservation Finance Alliance Report:  describes an attempt to draft a REDD+ architecture for 5 case study countries. The master’s project would try to do a similar process for Mexico, in conjunction with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, one of Mexico’s leading environmental organizations.

From the Executive Summary of the prototype report: 
In 2010, in-person and telephone based interviews were carried out by PwC with stakeholder representatives from government, civil society, academia and the private sector in six countries: Brazil, Cambodia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Madagascar and Peru to provide a national level perspective on how REDD+ funding is being managed now and how it could be managed in the future. Interviewees were asked to complete a ‘stakeholder map’, then answer questions on existing and projected REDD+ funding management at a national, sub-national and project level. The analysis of these interviews, supplemented with desk based research, are presented in six case study reports in this report. These country reports are based on data collected from February to August 2010 and as such may not capture the most recent REDD+ policy changes and project development. Read more

SNRE Program Areas: 

  • Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
  • Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Behavior, Education, and Communication
  • Environmental Informatics
  • Environmental Justice
  • Sustainable Systems

INVEST Ecosystem Services Valuation With The Natural Capital Project

April 22, 2013

Client Organization: The Natural Capital Project
SNRE Faculty Advisors: Michael Moore and Allen Burton
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Martha Campbell (Erb ’13), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kirsten Howard, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Kevin Le, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • John Shriver, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Lisa Wan, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
Summary of Project Idea: 

The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) is an innovative partnership among Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), University of Minnesota (UMN), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) aimed at aligning economic forces with conservation. Our vision is a world in which people and institutions recognize natural systems as capital assets, appreciate the vital roles they play in supporting human well-being, and incorporate the intrinsic and economic values of natural capital into decision making.

NatCap has 3 major foci to develop and promote this strategy: (1) develop general tools and approaches, such as InVEST for Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs; (2) apply these for refinement, feedback, and achievement of conservation results at focal demonstration sites around the world; and (3) magnify the impact. Our free suite of Ecosystem Services models (InVEST) allows ArcGIS users to quantify the biophysical and economic value of natural resources such as forests and riparian buffers. We adopted a tiered approach, with “Tier 1″ models being simple process-based or regression based models with minimal data requirements (and thus widely applicable), and “Tier 2″ models of higher complexity and larger data requirements.    Read more

SNRE Program Areas:

  • Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
  • Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Behavior, Education, and Communication
  • Environmental Informatics
  • Environmental Justice
  • Sustainable Systems